There’s been yet another serious incident at a factory that supplies iPad 2 components to Apple. Pegatron Corp, a plant that produces metal casings, announced that there was a gas explosion on December 17th at 3:40 p.m., on the fourth floor of the facility.
The factory did not catch on fire, but the blast injured 57 people, and 23 had to be hospitalized for burn wounds. The factory, which was recently built by Riteng Computer Accessory Co, was not yet operating at full capacity.
“The factory has not started operations yet. Part of the facility is still under pre-operation inspection and part is running trial production,” said Pegatron Chief Financial Officer Charles Lin in an interview with Reuters.
The explosion at Pegatron marks the third major incident at an Apple supply plant this year. Back in May, a major explosion at the Hon Hai factory in Chengdu, China killed three and injured 15 others. Hon Hai’s Shandong plant also experienced a malfunction when electrical cables on a building rooftop caught fire in September. There were no injuries, but the troubles have raised serious questions about safety regulations and employee conditions.
Apple is currently investigating the situation, but has made no comment on what went wrong. The explosion did cause damage to machinery, but Pegatron says that adjustments will be made to the facility to minimize the impact on operations and revenue. According to sources with inside knowledge of the factory, it is gearing up to produce back panels for the iPad 2 and/or the iPad 3. If the plant does not manage to resolve the safety issue promptly, Apple’s supply chain could be affected next quarter, causing production delays.